a day before winter in Bondi Beach

It’s the last day of the autumn months (Mar/Apr/May) and one day before winter sets in (Jun/Jul/Aug) and the weather is phenomenal, don’t you wish you were here in Bondi?

Bondi Beach iphoneography
stunning weather at Bondi in the day before winter

It’s not really a secret that we have a pretty good climate here in Sydney. Some years it’s just better (or worse) than others. The current weather is bright blue skies, highs of 20&#8451 -23&#8451 , crisp overnights at 10&#8451-14&#8451, on the coast at least. I’m loving it – here’s some more of today’s iphoneography to enjoy:

Bondi Beach iphoneography
the ocean pool at Bronte in stunning sunshine the day before winter
Bondi Beach iphoneography
Attack of the killer seagulls (I really don’t like seagulls)
Bondi Beach iphoneography
fishing off a ledge near Tamarama
Bondi Beach iphoneography
light filtered through this leafy street

And here’s a few more shots of the rest of this week of Bondi in the evening sun, in the gallery below.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have the Mountain Goat gene?

Some travellers just seem to be born with the mountain goat gene, but sadly I am not one of them. What’s a mountain goat gene I hear you say?

Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat | Source: nrmsc.usgs.gov

It’s the gene that enables you to be surefooted scrambling over rocks and uneven surfaces, up and down slopes of gravel or shale, jumping from one rock to another, fast and balanced. OK, it may not be a scientifically proven gene, but trust me, in all my years of travelling I have realised that there are only two camps – every person either has the mountain goat gene or they don’t, and there is no in-between. It’s not a factor of age or fitness, it’s an innate ability and balance when going where any mountain goat might go. If, like me, you don’t have this gene, you can’t fake it, and you can’t learn it. Give me a well built path of tramped down earth, a walkway, some steps, and I can walk all day. But throw in uneven stones, clambering up and over rocks, loose gravel and steep slopes, and I hesitate, I lose my rhythm, I stop and try to figure out where to put my foot next, I over-balance and then grab your shoulder, I graze my knee, I bruise my leg, and I probably end up on my bum. Sometimes I choose to sit down and edge forward gingerly, sometimes I trip myself up and end up there anyway.

73_4_turkey_cappadocia_800When I was younger I envied those with the mountain goat gene, but in the end I realised  it doesn’t matter. Because the truth is, if it’s something I have to do, to get to somewhere I really want to be, then I do it anyway. I will be scrambling without elegance, clutching at any guide or tree or random stranger for balance, cursing too loudly and sitting down when I need to – but I’ll do it.

Because if I am in Cappadocia I can’t ignore the amazing landscape and rock dwellings.

Because there’s rarely a waterfall that doesn’t need some rock scrambling to get to it. (but I try and save it for pretty spectacular falls these days, any old local one just won’t do)

Because sometimes you need to get to the top of the hill (and back down) via a mountain goat track to see the most amazing sunrise or sunset.

The people with the mountain goat gene can’t understand why we with the “klutz” gene are so bad at doing something that is as natural as breathing for them. And us klutz’s don’t understand how they don’t fall over and injure themselves, preferably painfully!  But if like me you are a klutz, just remember that we are the truly brave ones, because we actually choose to force ourselves over these mountain goat tracks, without the right skill set and against the full force of our genetics, just so that we can enjoy whatever is on the other side.

Grit and Graffiti, the street art of Buenos Aires

What does street art and graffiti tell us about a city, its history and inhabitants?  The answer can be “a lot”, it’s an interesting way of exploring the culture. And good street art makes exploring on foot even more visually interesting.

Street Art Buenos Aires
Artist Jaz – Street Art Buenos Aires

When I first arrived in Buenos Aires I did what I always do – I started walking around the neighbourhood. There was a lot of street art on the walls, but it was only when I did a walking tour with graffitimundo that I got an insight into what was inspiring and driving the street art movement, and how different it was to other parts of the world.

Street Art Buenos Aires
Artist Jaz – Street Art Buenos Aires

The first surprise was learning that graffiti developed much later in Argentina than in places like the US, although perhaps not so surprising since there was a military government and “the dirty war” for 7 years to 1983 (one of a number during the 20th century). During this period huge numbers of people disappeared for much lessor ‘crimes’ than graffiti. When graffiti did start emerging after military rule, the first participants didn’t have much access to information about graffiti in other countries, and so developed their own norms. There was no access to spray cans so graffiti in Buenos Aires still is mostly drawn and painted, not sprayed.

Graffiti & Street Art in Buenos Aires
Graffiti & Street Art in Buenos Aires

Street art was not illegal so there was no need to do it in the middle of the night, instead street artists would paint in broad daylight. They usually asked the owner of the wall for permission as well. The huge economic shocks at the start of the 1990s and again around 2001/02 had another surprisingly influence on the street art culture. With life literally so hard for the population, a number of artists started painting or stencilling cute, kitsch and funny art, rather than political/protest art, to cheer people up. This style is still present today, and will always bring a smile to my face.

Graffiti & Street Art in Buenos Aires
Graffiti & Street Art in Buenos Aires

After three hours of walking around dozens of key street art sites (there is also a cycling version which sounds fun too), it was cool to realise that I could start to recognise the distinctive style of individual artists, thanks to the descriptive abilities of the guide, and since then I have been able to look up my favourites on facebook and see what new work they have been up to.  By its very nature, street art has a limited life span, so I would be keen do this again next time I visit Buenos Aires as I would love to see what new work is out there. And to end it perfectly, we finished up at Post Street Bar, Thames 1885, where the walls and the roof terrace are painted and stenciled by some of the best street artists, and there is a gallery if you are interested in buying their work. After all that walking is was a good place to sit and have a drink. (note: this is not a sponsored review, the author paid full price for the walking tour).

Graffiti & Street Art in Buenos Aires
rooftop at Post Bar – Graffiti & Street Art in Buenos Aires